5 Green Tech Stories You Should Be Reading: April 19, 2012

What are other people chatting about today? Testing the range and charting the real “greenness” of electric vehicles, looking at solar power on the world market and on school campuses, and more.

Focus Electric car pool HOV

image via Ford

1.”Road Trip! Electric Vehicle Aficionados Charged Up to Drive Cross Country” – MSNBC – Men’s Health Magazine is sponsoring the 2012 Electric Car Challenge, in which a team will drive a 2012 Ford Focus Electric from New York to Los Angeles, making an estimated 45-55 charge stops. They’ll be using apps, crowdsourcing and the kindness of others to get their juice, and hope to promote the use and development of EVs.

2. “California Schools Harness Sunshine to Cut Energy Costs” – LA Times – Valencia High School is one of the 17 schools in the LA district to have PV panels installed on its roof in order to cut electricity bills (by up to 85  percent in some cases). There were a few snags installing the 7.3 megawatt system, however, including complaints about their appearance, and a mix-up involving the direction of the panels.

3. “How ‘Green’ Are Electric Vehicles?” – Smart Planet – Because EVs typically charge from the grid, there’s some debate about how green they really are. A new study shows that since different regions of the U.S. have different methods of generating electric power (Los Angeles, for example, uses more renewable energy sources than does Denver), the energy efficiency of an EV will vary greatly from place to place.

4. “Steve Jobs’ Lesson for the Solar Energy Industry” – Investment U – In the solar industry, like in the computer industry, it seems that the first companies in the game might not be the ones who are the most successful. This look at the history of solar when compared to the earlier computer boom, considers the surplus in solar capacity and dropping prices of panels, and what the future of solar power might look like.

5. “Wind Power: America’s Future?” – The Christian Science Monitor – A short overview of wind power in the U.S., which has increased 350 percent since 2006, and is the largest source of renewable electricity generation after hydropower. It’s got a way to go, though, totaling just 3 percent of the overall electricity generation in the U.S.

Laura Caseley is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz and a resident of New York State’s Hudson Valley. She writes for several publications and when she’s not writing, she can usually be found painting in her makeshift studio or enjoying the scenery of her hometown.